Report of Col. William R. Montgomery, First New Jersey Infantry
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 437-438
NEAR FORT ALBANY, VA., July 23, 1861
SIR: I have the honor to report that, by instructions of Brigadier-General Runyon, commanding Fourth Division, Northeastern Virginia, with fifteen companies, seven of the First (my own), and eight of the Second (McLean’s) New Jersey Volunteers, I left Vienna and marched to join you at Centreville. On the march we encountered your retreating forces, which, by personal authority, exertions of officers, men, and the bayonet, we endeavored, though ineffectually, to rally and turn back. We took position in rear of your camps and immediately in front of the enemy, then proceeded in person to your headquarters, and received your instructions to assume command of my own and McLean’s regiments, and hold our position. On sending for the latter regiment it was ascertained it had retired and was on the retreat, and continued to do so, for reasons doubtless its colonel will duly explain.
About 2 o’clock in the morning, having ascertained that the forces had retreated, and my command left entirely unsupported, I deemed it proper to retire, leaving your hospitals in charge of Surgeon Taylor, of my regiment, who nobly volunteered for that purpose with my sanction, to the mercy of the enemy.
I kept on and covered the rear of our retreating forces till we reached Fairfax Court-House, when, finding a regiment encamped but preparing to take up its march, I notified its commander he would be in rear, and the probability of the enemy’s Black Cavalry annoying him. We continued our march in rear of other forces, finally joined and escorted Hunt’s battery to this point, where, during the storm of yesterday, I disposed of my regiment as I best could. When we marched from Vienna four companies, two of each regiment, were on detached duty, and one other was left to hold the place till the former companies should return, then the whole to proceed to join us. They marched accordingly, but were met on the way and turned back, and those of the Second joined us here. To-day we are employed in getting in our camp equipage from Camp Trenton.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. R. MONTGOMERY,
Colonel, Commanding First Regiment New Jersey Volunteers
Brig. Gen. I. McDOWELL,
Commanding Federal Forces